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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 2250

(Question No. 1762)

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 7 September 1984:

Will he propose to the United Nations a schedule of international rights along the lines of Australian statutes to protect bereaved relatives and guardians against the improper use of human remains.

Mr Hayden —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

I understand the honourable member's reference to the improper use of human remains would be intended to relate to such actions as the removal of organs, for transplant, from cadavers without the consent of the dead person's relatives . Enquiries have shown that, internationally, practice (often for reasons of religious significance) ranges from the complete inviolability of human remains to laws that allow hospital authorities freedom to remove organs for transplant operations. Accordingly the Government does not consider this to be a subject amenable to regulation by international Convention. I therefore do not intend to propose to the United Nations a schedule of rights.